Let’s start off with the bad news:
Will Barton is still dealing with concussion symptoms. He was present at today’s practice, but was limited to stretching. Being 4 weeks separated from a concussion, myself, I can tell you that it would behoove him not to rush a return. Barton will follow the NBA’s concussion protocol, though it seems mild enough to expect a shortened recovery.
Mo Williams is still sidelined with the right ankle sprain he suffered on Tuesday. Ankle injuries tend to nag long after they have healed; especially if the player is 30 years old. Williams has begun light running independent of team practice, but remains without a timetable for return.
Earl Watson sat out the second half of today’s practice with a calf contusion. That doesn’t sound serious, but you may recall that Andrea Bargnani only played 35 games for Toronto last year due to the same injury. The severity is likely not as bad, and circumstances vary player-to-player, but at 34 years old, every strain, tear, and contusion is significant.
Dorell Wright dislocated the middle finger of his shooting hand. Wright will miss a small amount of time, but is likely to return with his finger taped in short order. This one still stings, as Portland signed Wright primarily for his shooting abilities. Fortunately, he should be able to participate in limited portions of the Blazers’ practices until healthy.
Now the good news:
LaMarcus Aldridge returned to practice this afternoon. He suffered a quad strain during practice on Wednesday night and had been listed as day-to-day. Although he did not participate fully, he feels well enough to proceed with caution. Unless he re-aggravates it, he should be available for fan-fest on Sunday, October 6th, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see a minute cap placed on him during Portland’s first preseason game against the Clippers the following day.
Fortunately, most of these injuries are believed to be short term problems, though some have possible far-reaching implications. If there is a time to get injuries out of the way, it’s right now. The regular season is set to begin in 26 days, so it looks like many of Portland’s players will be taking it easy during the preseason. With any luck, everyone will have a clean bill of health by opening night—leaving yet another inauspicious start behind them.